'Kangaroo mothering' helps boost a child's health and intelligence, study finds
Kangaroo mothering”, the practice of continuous skin-to-skin contact with a newborn baby, results in healthier, more intelligent and successful offspring, a new study reveals.
A 20-year follow-up from a landmark trial found that those nurtured in the kangaroo method scored higher in IQ tests and earned 53 per cent more.
They were also found to be less likely to have behavioural problems such as aggression and display absenteeism than babies in a control group.
Followers of the method nest an infant in a “kangaroo” position on their chest as soon as possible after birth. Both mother and baby are supposed to go home as quickly as safely feasible.
The technique is often used as an alternative to incubation in cases of premature birth, whereby the trained mother or caregiver acts as the child’s incubator and its main source of stimulation and food, in the form of breast feeding.
Between 1993 and 1996 a group of more than 700 prematurely born babies in Columbia were, on the basis of randomized selection, placed either in an incubator or were nurtured using the kangaroo method.
Two decades later, a follow-up survey funded by the Canadian Government, has shown that those who underwent the latter method benefited by comparison.
Published in the journal Paediatrics, the research shows that kangaroo mothering offered significant protection against early death, with the a 3.5 per cent mortality rate compared to a 7.7 per cent rate in the control group.
IQ test also showed a small but significant advantage of 3.5 per cent compared to other infants.